Well, this is unfortunate. Spain has been one of the few remaining countries that had fairly reasonable copyright laws. It was clear that liability is on the actual party doing the infringing, rather than third party service providers, which is why time and time again, Spanish courts found various tool providers to be legal
when sued by the entertainment industry. Of course, this has driven the entertainment industry absolutely crazy
. We've been hearing stories for years about how the entertainment industry was dead in Spain because of the widespread infringement. Just last month, MPAA boss Chris Dodd insisted that the film industry in Spain was "gone" because of infringement. As we pointed out, Dodd was making this up
. The Spanish film industry is doing quite well and producing more movies than in the past.
However, the entertainment industry has been pushing this message about how infringement has killed the entire industry in Spain to US politicians and diplomats, leading the US State Department to go ballistic in Spain, demanding that the country change its copyright laws
to please Hollywood. While this had been assumed ever since the new legislation was introduced, some of the State Department cables leaked via Wikileaks confirmed the US's deep involvement in pressuring the Spanish government to change its laws.
The revelation that this was really a Hollywood-driven law ramped up public opposition to the bill, and actually delayed it
for about a year. The whole situation so pissed off people all around Spain, that even the head of the Spanish Film Academy quit that position
to protest how bad the new law was, and how it was anti-consumer.
A month ago, a bunch of press reports suggested that the law, called the Sinde Law, after Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, had been killed
. However, many others pointed out that the issue had really just been punted to the incoming government
, which appears to have wasted almost no time in approving the Sinde Law
and putting in place a totally backwards and unnecessary law that was pushed by Hollywood by misleading people about the state of the Spanish film market. This, despite the fact that analysis from some economists determined that the bill would be very bad
for consumers and artists alike (though it might help big studios in Hollywood).
All in all this is a pretty shameful sell out by the Spanish government to Hollywood. Even worse, Spanish Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria is either naive or clueless in suggesting that this will "boost our cultural industries." It won't. It's actually about getting money away
from Spanish cultural industries (which, again, are making more movies than ever) and sending it to Hollywood instead.